A Dangerous Benediction

Francis of Assisi is one of those men who is amazing when you read more about him. I heard this prayer of the Franciscans from Craig Groeschel at Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit, and it captures a lot of the difficult truth that I and many others have experienced over the years as we seek to develop authentic followers of Jesus who show the depth of God’s love in a shallow society.

It’s a dangerous prayer, but one that is important to pray.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

There’s something to this benediction that is severely dangerous. Praying for discomfort, anger, tears, and foolishness sounds absolutely ridiculous. Until you begin to realize that it’s the only way to engage the more difficult climb of life. Benediction literally broken down goes “bene-” which means good, and “-diction” which means speech.

I think when Jesus challenged the one who called him good with, “Who do you call good?” I might say the same thing about this Franciscan “good speech.” It is good, but do we want it to be?

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August 2008

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